Families sue over child deaths

Up to 10 families are believed to be taking legal action against a hospital over its treatment of newborn babies and young children who died or suffered complications during treatment.

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust is accused of a catalogue of neglect and mistreatment of babies and children with heart problems, over a four-year period from 2008.

The claim is thought to centre on up to ten families - including seven whose children died following treatment at the hospital. Previously, some had spoken out about the "inept care" of the young patients, calling for a public inquiry into what they considered to be "chronically low standards".

The hospital, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, defended its mortality record. However, claims in The Sunday Telegraph that the hospital is being sued could further underline fragile confidence in sections of the NHS, following this week's damning report into failings of care at Stafford Hospital.

Stephen and Yolanda Turner claim their son Sean's case is not isolated and urged other parents to come forward with their own stories.

Sean, four, died of a brain haemorrhage last March after previously suffering a cardiac arrest while on the ward. His death at the hospital came six weeks after he underwent vital corrective heart surgery.

"All we want is the truth," Mr Turner said following his son's death.

"After the nightmare we lived through with Sean we deserve nothing less than the truth. That is vitally important for other families as well. Other families should not have to suffer what we suffered. This shouldn't be swept under the carpet and forgotten and things left to go on unchanged."

The couple, from Warminster in Wiltshire, claim they pleaded for Sean to be returned to intensive care as his condition worsened.

They later hit out in an official letter of complaint which lists a host of shortcomings regarding their son's care. They claim ward hygiene was poor, staff were incompetent and that Sean was neglected to the point where he had an avoidable cardiac arrest.